Report: Latinos harassed, immigrants denied pay, families live without water thanks to anti-immigrant Alabama law
Since HB 56, Alabama’s extreme immigration law, went into effect last fall, children stayed home from school out of fear that their parents would be deported, and U.S.-born children have been denied food stamps because of their parents’ immigration status. Public utility companies denied service to anyone who did not provide ID to prove they were legally in the U.S. Farmers watched their crops rot in the fields after their workers left Alabama. In all, one study shows that the damage from HB 56 could end up costing Alabama about 100,000 jobs and billions in GDP losses.
After officials began enforcing HB 56, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) set up a hotline for Alabama residents to report how the law affected them. Thousands of calls poured in, and the SPLC has collected some of the most egregious stories: undocumented immigrants denied pay, U.S. citizens harassed because they look like immigrants, a family surviving without water in their home. “The result is a crisis that harkens back to the bleakest days of Alabama’s racial history,” according to the report, which highlights 10 of these stories:
[The stories] illustrate the devastating impact HB 56 has had on Alabama Latinos, regardless of their immigration status. The stories also illustrate that HB 56 has unleashed a kind of vigilantism, leading some Alabamians to believe they can cheat, harass and intimidate Latinos with impunity. These consequences were easily foreseeable.
The law was forged within a legislative debate rife with stereotypes, misinformation, incendiary rhetoric and bigotry. The Senate sponsor told colleagues they needed to “empty the clip” to deal with immigrants. The House sponsor, Rep. Micky Hammon, cited the increase in Alabama’s Latino population to illustrate the growth of the state’s undocumented population. Hammon’s conflation of “Hispanic” with “illegal immigrant” during the legislative debate was so egregious that a federal judge cited it in a recent opinion.
Read the full story at Think Progress